When we were just starting out, I know I would have found it very helpful to have a list of resources for doing some of my own search engine optimization. So here’s some ideas – basic steps you can take yourself to get off on the right SEO foot.
First, submit your web address to Google to be indexed. If your site is fairly old it may already be indexed, but it never hurts to make sure Google knows that you exist. Getting indexed by Google is the first step, that means that you’re on their list. Eventually your website will be “crawled,” which means that they go through your content page by page and look at your content and where your links go and use algorithms to attempt to figure out how useful your site will be to people who look up certain things.
Now do the same thing for Bing.
Then go sign up for a Google Analytics account and a Google Search Console account. You can use your Gmail account for these if you have one. Google Analytics is a free service from Google that lets you track how many visitors you have to your site and where they’re coming from. If you familiarize yourself with some of the code, you can get some really in-depth information.
Google Search Console provides you with a multitude of analytics related to how your site appears to Google Search. A lot of people have questioned the accuracy of the search console statistics, but my general rule of thumb is that you can’t go wrong if you do things that help you trend in the right direction, even if the exact numbers are wrong.
Google Search Console lets you see which keywords are your best keywords, how you’re ranking for those keywords and how many impressions (how many times you appear to search engine users) you’re getting. It also lets you submit a sitemap, which is one way to ensure that Google is actually crawling all of your pages. If that all sounds incredibly overwhelming to you, it is a service we offer…
In a post last month I talked about finding a niche. To find a niche you need to find good keywords. The definition of good in this context is generally keywords that will result in solid leads, despite having pretty low traffic. If they had higher traffic, they would be completely dominated by bigger businesses, but they are ignored as being not worth the effort, but they are indeed worth the effort to you, the diligent small business owner.
To do keyword research, you need a keyword research tool. Googling free keyword research tools will lead you to about a zillion sites that are free for like ONE search and then they need your credit card to sign up for their “free” trial. No thanks.
Google Adwords has a keyword tool. You also have to pay for this one in the form of having an active Adwords campaign going. They let you set your daily spend pretty ridiculously low, and I think its possible to adjust it so that it’s basically free, and they have a pretty good (from what I can tell) keyword research tool. Some days I feel like a Google salesman… I am not. They make solid products at a great price (basically free for everything although they also have paid tiers for everything, haven’t needed them yet). They’re the best jumping off point for learning how to wrangle the great SEO beast.
In another post, I’ll tell you exactly what to look for while you’re doing your keyword research, but that day is not today! Good luck!